Tuesday, September 29, 2009

WWOOFers Learn to Spin and Weave

So far this year we've had 6 WWOOFers come to help us at Joybilee Farm. All but one of them learned to spin their own yarn from our wool -- first on a drop spindle and then on the wheel. All of them went from lumpy, bumpy singles to beautifully consistent yarn in 2 or 3 days. And then on to ply their yarn on the wheel. Some stayed long enough to learn to dye with natural dyes and Michelle, from Red Deer, left on Sunday, having woven her new yarn into a scarf, on an Ashford Knitters Loom (a rigid heddle loom).

I am so proud of our WWOOFers and their accomplishments. Not only did they help us immensely with our workload as we get ready for winter, but they also took away from Joybilee Farm a new skill or two, that will give them much pleasure throughout their lives.

Not all our WWOOFers were interested in learning to spin at first, but after watching us spin for a few days, the urge to learn becomes iresistable. Right, Kati?

Ideally, to go from not spinning to spinning, natural dyeing and weaving or knitting a finished project takes about 2 weeks, working on their new skills in their spare time at the farm. Those who stayed for a shorter period of time, or spent their off hours sleeping or surfing, only got part way on the journey -- completing their 2 ply skein of yarn. But I have confidence that they will be able to go further on their own.

Jessica came to us from New Brunswick. Her ambition was to go from sheep to yarn and someday to have her own handspinner's flock. Jessica learned to skirt a fleece, wash a fleece and spin her own yarn for knitting. Her help with weeding the vegetable garden and the willow beds was an immense help to us in May, allowing us to have a successful garden this year. Thank you Jessica for your help and for the things you taught us -- including helping Sarah understand what happens chemically during an indigo reduction vat.

Kati came fresh from completing a degree at Emily Carr School of Arts -- an award winning fiber artist in her own right and currently living in Mexico. She dyed with natural indigo and learned to spin her own yarn. She helped with the weeding of the willow beds and then the weeding of the linen field. Thanks Kati. We had a successful linen harvest in August thanks to your diligent weeding in June.

Ruth came to us from Israel and is a professional chef. She helped us get ready for the linen festival and was an immense help in organizing the house. (Ruth, the wood cook stove is in now!) Ruth learned to spin and took away a 2 ply skein of yarn. Unfortunately, we didn't get to knitting, but Ruth has enough skills to continue with her fiber arts journey on her own. Ruth taught us how to make chapatis and enriched our lives with her stories about life in the Middle East.

Helen came to us from Grand Forks. A retired teacher, she was an immense help in canning our tomato sauce and filling the dehydrator and freezer with fruit for the winter. Helen was our only WWOOFer who didn't learn to spin, but she helped with the golden rod harvest for natural dyeing. Thanks, Helen.

Beth came to us from San Diego. I didn't get a picture of Beth's spinning. She came just as we were coping with Robin's brother's accident and in our grief, it was difficult to connect with Beth. She helped us clean up the goat yard of branches from a winter of feeding spruce and pine boughs to the animals. Wow, does it look better now. Thanks, Beth. Beth learned to spin and 2 ply her yarn just before she left. Since Beth spent most of her afternoons in town surfing the internet, we didn't get to teach her as much fiberarts skills as we would have liked. But she still took away her own yarn.

Michelle came to us from Red Deer. She came in time to help us at the Rock Creek Fair. What a big help she was in bringing in wood for the winter, cleaning up the felled trees, and gathering herbs for the winter. Thanks, Michelle. Michelle learned to spin, dye with golden rod, and while she was here she dreamed that she was weaving. So Michelle used her newly spun and dyed yarn to weave a scarf on the Ashford knitters loom. What a gorgeous scarf!

To our WWOOFers: We are grateful for all that you taught us this summer and for all the help you gave us at Joybilee Farm. Our lives are richer for the time you spent with us.

Joybilee Farm accepts WWOOFers year round and we have recently acquired a larger trailer to house those WWOOFers who wish to spend a week or two at the farm and learn to care for fiber animals, and to process their wool/mohair/angora into yarn or completed textiles.

1 comment:

  1. hello!
    my name is Fanny, I am a 23 years old french girl, living currently in France.
    I was so happy to find your blog cause i have been looking for that for a long time! let me explain to you :)
    I want to learn how to weave and spin and everything around that.I want to learn all the cycle from the sheep to the colouring to the spin ect...
    I am trully inspired with that idea and no one can say that i am not in found of this new project.
    I have been studing languages ( norwegian, swedish, russian..), and working in Norway, but now, i feel like i need to find my real way...and something inside push me to this art.
    Im a musician, and a photographer as well. I love the nature, gardening, and cooking.
    Well, my question is, would you accept me to wwoof at your farm?? from january for instead?
    moreover, i have been dreaming about visiting your country so many times, my dreams will come true :)
    then, i hope you will say yes..and i leave you my mail
    hope to hear from you soon, kindly regards, Fanny